I’m Running Out of Time To Save the World: The Age of YA Protagonists

ya-heroines-collageI know that I’ve been writing a lot of reviews recently, so I thought I would try something new for a change. I’ve seen a lot of other blogs do discussion type posts, so here’s my go at it! I’m hoping that this will encourage more people to interact and comment their opinions. I love talking to you guys! Also, what do you think about calling these posts Thinking Thursdays posts? Or is that too mundane, shall we say?

I turned sixteen yesterday, and I had a great birthday. There’s something about the number sixteen that just makes me really happy, and I felt wonderful until I started thinking about YA books. Okay, this is going to sound super nerdy and weird, but I kind of freaked out for a few minutes. Why? Okay, look at the ages of all the heroes and heroines in YA lit. Obviously, basically everyone is in their teens; that’s why it’s called “young adult literature.” But if you think about it, it actually feels really unrealistic. Putting aside the fact that there is currently no magic available to me, it makes me think about what I’ve achieved in these past sixteen years. I’m definitely no Clary Fairchild, who has saved the world twice (give or take), or Magnus Chase, who died a valiant death to save Boston from a fiery giant, or even Violet Markey who is so strong and open-minded. I’m just plain old me, who occasionally struggles with her calculus homework and whose biggest worry is where she’ll go to college. And you know what? That’s okay. YA heroes and heroines are born to inspire, to send a message of hope and strength and persistence to their readers. It’s relatable and enjoyable to read about people my age. I get that, and that’s one of the reasons why I love YA literature so much.

At the same time, I sometimes wonder if YA books are somehow yet another thing adding to our stress levels, even subconsciously. Don’t get me wrong; I’ve said it about five times and I’ll say it again: I LOVE YA LIT! There, I’ve even enthusiastically screamed it. Anywho, I think that society just places so much pressure on teens today, even compared with our parents’ time. I get it, the times are changing. But there is really just a constant drive for the next generation to do everything better and earlier. Yes, it means that society is not as likely to stagnate. At the same time, stress and anxiety seems to be increasing exponentially. I don’t know, I just feel like reading 100 books a year about people my age or even younger saving the world can maybe get to my head a little bit.

Okay, I’ve rambled on for far too long, but seriously, what do you think? Am I just crazy? Or does YA literature really sometimes feel unrealistic and a little panic-inducing? Let me know!


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